Towards a Decolonial Critical Political Economy of the Media: Some Initial Thoughts

Sarah H. Chiumbu, Mandla Radebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


How the media are organised and funded has implications on who gets to speak and the stories that are told or silenced. The critical political economy of the media approach allows an understanding of the ideologies and power structures that influence media operations, ownership, and funding. Although the critical political economy of the media remains central in understanding these issues, the approach needs to be decolonised to address the dynamics of media power from the perspective of the global south. In this paper, we explore what the theoretical contributions of decoloniality can make to the project of rethinking political economy of the media. We argue that the critical political economy approach, whose core vocabulary is Marxist, contains inherent limitations in understanding conditions of media-state relations in Africa. Decolonial thought and its recent engagement with Marxism has produced new thinking and fresh ways of reflecting the relationship between Western capitalism and modernity. We contend that this approach allows us to foreground issues of modernity, coloniality, and race and their impact on contemporary media systems in Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • critical political economy
  • decoloniality
  • decolonisation
  • global capitalism
  • global south
  • Marxism
  • media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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